Seven West Media has struck a landmark agreement with Google that will see the tech giant pay for news content in its first significant deal globally with a major media company.
The Australian-listed company announced today it had entered into a Letter of Understanding to form a long-term partnership with Google, which includes providing news content to its Showcase product.
Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which publishes The West Australian as well as 19 regional papers and PerthNow, said the agreement was a great outcome for Seven West Media and Google.
“Our new partnership recognises the value, credibility and trust of our leading news brands and entertainment content across Seven and West Australian Newspapers,” he said.
The deal comes after a Senate Committee last week endorsed the Federal Government’s proposed media bargaining laws, which could force Google and Facebook to pay Australian media organisations for the news they use on their platforms.
The new laws, which have been pitched as a way to “safeguard public interest journalism”, will be among the first in the world to demand that multi-billion-dollar tech firms share revenue with news outlets.
The laws, first drafted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, will establish rules for negotiations between digital platforms and registered Australian news businesses over sharing revenue from the use of their content.
Mr Stokes thanked Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who he said had been instrumental in the outcome of the “ground-breaking” agreement.
He said the leadership shown by them in their push for the proposed News Media Bargaining Code meant Seven West Media could conclude negotiations that resulted in fair payment and ensure the company’s digital future.
“The negotiations with Google recognise the value of quality and original journalism throughout the country and, in particular, in regional areas,” Mr Stokes said.
He said he believed that Google was committed to the spirit of the proposed code.
Mel Silva, managing director for Google Australia and New Zealand, said the partnership with Seven West Media meant the teach giant would make a substantial investment in the future of journalism not just across the metropolitan areas, but importantly in regional areas too where titles like the Kalgoorlie Miner and the Harvey-Waroona Reporter were at the heart of the local community.
“Seven West Media is one of Australia’s leading integrated media companies across broadcast, print and digital news and joins with 21 publications across a variety of titles as diverse as The West Australian, 7NEWS, PerthNow, the Albany Advertiser, the Geraldton Guardian and the Broome Advertiser,” she said.
Ms Silva said Showcase had been well received since it launched in Australia just over a week ago. She said Google’s publisher partners had received one million views of their content in just eight days.
James Warburton, chief executive of Seven West Media, said Google recognised the strength of the media company’s audiences through its engaging content and leading platforms.
“We are excited to be partnering with them as we pursue the next stage of our Strategy,” he said.
The LOU is subject to executing a long form agreement in the next 30 days.
Seven West Media said it would advise more details once the long form agreement was finalised.